Monday Morning Commentary

My husband continued our series on idols this weekend with a powerful message on the human obsession to achieve acceptance.  Based on the story of Jacob and Leah found in Genesis 29, the message hit me hard as I know it did everyone there.

The sermon was based around how we all chase after acceptance.  Some of us through achievements, others through the approval of others.  My husband began with this thought, "If you give yourself to something other than God, when you wake up, it always turns out to be Leah, not Rachel."  Like when you finally get that husband or that job or have that baby or make that amount of money, you realize it doesn't make you feel the way you thought it would.

Jacob sought acceptance through achievement, "If I could just…" 

Leah sought acceptance through approval, "If they would just…"

I really resonate with Leah.  I spend a lot of my energy wanting everyone to understand me.  Like if people would understand why I did or didn't do something, they would agree I did the right thing, or that I made the right decision. The thing is, I can spend so much time worrying about what others think about me, I have no energy left for what God thinks.

My husband gave such a beautiful picture of how we can stop chasing after acceptance… we must realize that we are ACCEPTED!  If I let everything I do, every decision I make, come from what I feel God is asking me to do, then what others think about my decision is irrelevant.  Do I still want to be understood by the people in my life?  Of course.  Will I still seek the godly advice of those around me?  Sure.  But my ultimate approval and acceptance must come from my Father, otherwise, I will end up chasing a moving target.

I have barely made a dent in the richness of this message.  You should take the time to isten to it.  We have split it into 2 parts.  You can listen to part 1 of the message every hour on the hour this week at the Elevation Experience.  After that you can find it in our archives.

Have a great Monday!

Refreshing Conversations: Lisa Hughes and Kerri Weems

Today we continue our series, Refreshing Conversations.  For the next several Fridays, I will be playing back videos recorded from a pastors' wives retreat that I hosted called Refresh.  I couldn't help but take advantage of all the wisdom that was present.  I called in my good friend, Tonia Bendickson, to interview some of the leading Christian women in this nation.  You will hear about a full range of topics from minitry to family to leadership.  And you will hear from amazing women like Amy Groeschel, Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson.

Lisa Hughes   
First today, we will hear from Lisa Hughes.  Lisa and her husband, Dave, lead Church By The Glades in Coral Springs, FL.  While Lisa is very involved in the leadership of Church By the Glades, her roll does not involve a lot of time speaking or preaching from the stage.  Listen to Lisa tell about a time where a technology issue forced her out of her seat on the front row and onto the stage.


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Next is Kerri Weems.  Kerri and her husband, Stovall, pastor Celebration Church in Jacksonville, FL.  Kerri (a self-proclaimed introvert) is an incredible speaker.  Every time I hear her preach I am amazed at her beautiful combination of confidence and wisdom.  Hear Kerri share about how she prepares to speak and also give some encouragement about being authentic.

The Holy Ghost Offering

This weekend we are taking up a special offering at Elevation, the Holy Ghost Offering.  Because our finace team plans so well, Elevation will be able to take the entire offering given this weekend and put it towards expansion (and of course giving 12% to our outreach). 

We are asking everyone to give big.  To be generous.  For some people, this will mean giving 10% of their monthly income for the first time.  For others, it will be finishing their Kingdom Come commitment.  Still others, who did not have the opportunity to participate in Kindgom Come, will be giving a generous gift above and beyond their regular committment .

My husband and I try really hard to teach our children to be generous.  This is no exception.  For the past few weeks Elijah and Graham have been earning stickers.  We are still working on our Spirit Tree so recently, everytime they display one of the fruits of the Spirit (kind to their brother, patient while waiting for a toy, joyful instead of whining, etc…), they put a sticker on their picture.

On Saturday we will count up all the stickers.  Each sticker represents 1 dime and 1 M&M.  The money will go in the offering, the candy in their tummy.  My husband and I will be giving big too.

I am praying for all of the Elevators that they would be able to experience the joy and the blessings of generosity and that it would begin with the Holy Ghost Offering. 

Better than yourself

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

This verse should be the theme of every marriage.  Can you imagine what your marriage would be like if you considered your spouse better than yourself?

Serving wouldn't seem so beneath you.

Respect wouldn't need to be earned.

Love wouldn't be difficult to express.

Affirmations would overflow out of your mouth.

Forgiveness would flow freely.

I'm sorry would be spoken often.

It's comforting to know that the verses close with allowing you to look out for yourself.  I don't think God intended for anyone to be a doormat in a marriage.  But a beautiful thing can happen when two people consider the other as more important than his/herself.

God will honor and bless a marraige devoted to putting each other first.


Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend, my husband ventured out to Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX, we continued our series on idols with a guest preacher, Clayton King

Clayton and his wife Charie have been friends of ours for close to 10 years.  They believed in Steven and Holly Furtick long before there was an Elevation Church.  Clayton has preached at Elevation many times, and he always does an amazing job.  This weekend was no exception.

Clayton preached about the idol of greed.  Greed, though usually associated with money, really is the idol that causes us to respond to our sinful impulse by keeping and controlling everything for ourselves.  He said that greed always wants more and always wants it now.

The Bible is full of people who fell to greedy impulses.  Adam and Eve were greedy for autonomy, Sampson was greedy for pleasure.  Pilot was greedy for popularity, Judas was greedy for wealth.

I loved how Clayton brought the message to a practical close with 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  He said God is the cure for greed and the vaccine is generosity. 

This is not a one time vaccine, but a lifestyle that must be practiced daily.  Do you struggle with being greedy with your time?  Maybe it's time to volunteer in your community, or simply spend less time at work and more time with your family.  Maybe you struggle with being greedy with your money?  Are you giving to your local church?  Do you struggle with being greedy for popularity?  Maybe it's time to be focus on generously investing in the friends you do have?

This series is shaping up to be personally painful for me yet so beneficial!  You can listen to the it every hour, on the hour this week at the Elevation Experience, and then later in our archive.

Have a great Monday!

Refreshing Conversations: Jessica Cornelius and Tricia Lovejoy

Today we continue our series, Refreshing Conversations.  For the next several Fridays, I will be playing back videos recorded from a pastors' wives retreat that I hosted called Refresh.  I couldn't help but take advantage of all the wisdom that was present.  I called in my good friend, Tonia Bendickson, to interview some of the leading Christian women in this nation.  You will hear about a full range of topics from ministry to family to leadership.  And you will hear from amazing women like Amy Groeschel, Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson.

Today we are going to talk about how to deal with some of the more difficult parts of ministry like losing staff and taking criticism.

We had a technical issue so moving forward over the coming weeks, some of my video blogs have actually had to be turned into audio blogs. 

First up today is Jessica Cornelius.  She and her husband, Bil, lead Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, Texas.  This past Easter, they lead their church to do something radical and they received a ton of criticism for it.  Hear Jessica talk about how she personally dealt with the hurt and what she learned from the situation. 



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Next we are going to hear from Tricia Lovejoy.  Tricia and her husband, Shawn, pastor Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, Georgia (Atlanta area).  This past year, Mountain Lake has gone through several staff changes.  Listen to Tricia talk about the pain of losing staff members, but allowing them to leave well.

Fashion file… handbags

It seems like there are as many purse options for women as there are shoes.  When shopping, it's really hard to look past all of the flashy colors and odd shapes to find a bag that is perfect for you.

I rarely change my bag for my outfit (I mean really, who has time for that?).  I try to find a bag that is a neutral color (black, cream, navy, grey, tan, brown), one that is confortable to carry, big enough to hold all my stuff (but not so big it looks like a small carry on), and one that fits a season.  I usually carry the same bag for an entire spring/summer or fall/winter.  I like to stay away from bright colors and printed fabrics simply because I tire of them faster and I feel like they don't blend with what I am wearing. 

I know women who prefer smaller bags, but I personally like my purse to be a Marry Poppins bag of sorts.  I want my bag to have the capacity to carry my Bible and notebook, or a diaper/wipes case and sippy cup, but also look nice if I want to lighten the load and just have the normal items like a wallet, keys, phone, make-up etc…  You can take the ideas of the medium to large size bags listed below and just look for that is a small to medium bag if that is what you prefer.

You can pay so much money for a handbag if you want a designer label like Kate Spade or Marc Jacobs ($400+).  But you can easily find a great looking bag for under $100 (and even a lot less) that is going to look and feel just as good (or better).

Right now, zippers and embelishments are more prevalant over bright colors.  When shopping for a new handbag, my absolute favorite place to shop is Marshalls.  You can get in-season bags at extrememly discounted prices.  Our local Marshalls carrys brands such as Nine West, Guess, and even Michael Kors.  Target also has some great looks but you have to be careful because their bags can get pricey for the quality (for the price you pay at Target for faux leather, you can pay the same for real leather at Marshalls).

Here are a few looks I pulled from  All of them are under $100 but you could probably find the same look for a bit less at a local discount store if you have the patience to go looking.

The shoulder bag.  Feminine with zipper embelishment.
Handbag 11

The Cross-body.  Has nice big straps, looks comfy to carry

Cross-body with zippers.  Love this subtle flare.
Handbags 13

The shoulder bag.  Also comes in black.
Handbag 1

The tote.  I love the gold embelishment.
Handbag 15

The Satchel.  It's making a comeback from the 90s.
Handbag 14

A Call for Social Networking Etiquette

The technological revolution has changed life as we know it forever.  As with any new change, new rules must be made.  It is time for us to all agree on the proper etiquette for social media.  I have a few suggestions…

1.  You don't have to tell everything you do.  Practice a bit of privacy when twittering and updating your facebook status.  We may not all need to know that you got sick after eating a greasy lunch.  Remember how diaries used to have locks on them?

2.  You don't need to say everything you think.  Just because you have the freedom of expression, doesn't mean should always exercise that right.  Especially when you may hurt someone else's feelings when expressing yourself.  The golden rule still applies, even when typing.

3.  Love the one you're with.  We've all done it, checked email, twitter, texts, even answered the phone while in the presence of an actual friend/family member.  We've all been on the other end, and no one likes it.  Can we all agree that this is rude and we should try really hard to refrain?

4.  Remember, no one is forcing you to follow another person.  If you don't agree with a person's point of view, no one is forcing you to read their blog/twitter/facebook page. 

5.  Proof read.  There are so many things we learned in school that we never use.  Proof reading is not one of them.  Don't put this skill on the shelf, it will save you some embarrassment.  I'm a living witness.

6.  And since we are talking about embarrassment, it's not polite to embarrass others.  Just keep in mind that getting a good laugh at someone else's expense may not be funny at all to that person.

The thing about etiquette is we all break the rules at one time or another.  I have been guilty of all the things listed above.  But maybe if we all work together, we can make the world of social media a more pleasant place to live?

Chinese Gender Prediction

I get a kick out of all the pregnancy wives tales.  I was told by so many people that I was having a girl because I was sicker than I had been before.  I was also told that because I craved orange juice, I was definately having a girl.  Then there is how you carry your baby: low=boy, high=girl.  Or, if you crave sweets, you are having a girl, if your crave sour/salty, you are having a boy.  And so many more…

I think my favorite wives tale is the Chinese Gender Prediction Chart.  Have you ever seen it?  I find it to be quite accurate for my kids.  There are several different versions of this chart floating around out there.  For sake of uniformity, we will use this one I swiped from the web and their directions. 

Here's how it works, find the age of the mother at the time of conception, then go across to the month the baby was conceived, if you land on a B, the baby was, or should be a boy, if you land on a G, its a girl.  For instance, Elijah was born on in July, 2005, so I was 24 when he was conceived Elijah in October, chart predicts a boy.

Screen shot 2010-10-19 at 10.43.20 AM This chart is accurate with both of my boys.  For my 3rd, it predicts a boy, but I was told with 100% certainty we are having a girl, no wives tales are perfect!  So for me, the chart is 66% accurate.

Ok, your turn to weigh in, is this chart accurate for you?  I can't wait to see these results.